New York City has long been a global center for a vibrant culinary scene. Among the culinary treasures the city is famed for, pizza holds a unique and beloved place. This universal dish, which has transcended its humble origins to become a veritable symbol of New York's food culture, was introduced by Italian immigrants in the early 20th century. Over time, the city's affinity for pizza evolved, and the classic New York-style pizza was born.
Historic pizzerias, such as Lombardi's, John's of Bleecker Street, Patsy's, Totonno's, and more, serve as the pillars of this pizza legacy. These are establishments that have stood the test of time, preserving century-old recipes and traditional baking methods. A visit to these pizzerias is more than just a meal - it's a journey back in time, offering a glimpse into the history of the city and its inhabitants. The ambiance of these storied establishments, filled with the aroma of baking dough and melting cheese, echoes the stories of countless New Yorkers who have shared meals and memories here.
The oldest pizzerias of New York City are more than just eateries; they are cultural landmarks that continue to serve slices of history with every pizza they bake.
Lombardi's is credited as the first pizzeria in the United States. Located in Little Italy, it still serves pizza cooked in its original coal-fired oven.
Known for its coal-fired, thin-crust pizzas, Totonno's has been a beloved institution in Coney Island since the 1920s.
John's of Bleecker Street (1929)
A Greenwich Village staple, John's of Bleecker Street is famous for its classic New York-style pizza, cooked in coal-fired brick ovens.
Located in East Harlem, Patsy's has served its traditional thin-crust pizza for almost a century.
Located in Greenwich Village, Arturo's is one of the few pizzerias in New York that still uses a coal-fired oven, which gives its pies a distinct, smoky flavor.
Di Fara Pizza (1965)
A Midwood, Brooklyn staple, Di Fara is renowned for its Sicilian and regular pies made by the legendary pizza maestro Domenico DeMarco.
Joe's Pizza (1975)
This classic pizzeria, located in Greenwich Village, has been serving some of the city's most iconic slices for decades.
While relatively new compared to others on this list, Grimaldi's has quickly established itself as a must-visit spot for its coal-fired, brick-oven pizza. Originally in Brooklyn, it has several locations now.
Arianna DiCicco is an educator and writer from California, born into an Italian American restaurant family with strong ties to her grandparents’ home in Abruzzo, Italy. She has lived in San Francisco, Rome and New York City where she’s made deep connections within the Italian communities and gained new perspectives about her own culture. With a Masters in International Education, Arianna has a love and passion for learning and educating others about Italian history & culture.